In any case, the topic at hand right now is sustainable farming. I know that I must read a hell of a lot of books and articles to get the large picture of the advantages and disadvantages of industrial farming and of our real footprint on the ecosystem, but right now I am spending a few hours reading through articles and TED lectures, and I have learned a few new insights on the topic.
Here is an interesting TED lecture:
Allan Savory here talks about the importance of movement of livestock herds on soil, in terms of the contribution they can have to deserting lands.
Although this is not mentioned in this lecture, today most livestock are grown in industrial farms which distances them even further from free-grazing natural movement in nature and which removes them from a natural chain of animal life and from their part in the natural ecosystem. They are grown merely to be eaten, without almost any footprint of contribution to the well-being of the soil. We are tampering with their nature, they are basically disconnected from anything good they can give to the earth. When people claim that if we don't grow cows for meat there won't be cows left, well anyway they grow inside closed farms, so if nature will miss them- well, it misses them already. Right now the only ones that "gain" from industrial farming are the people who find eating meat tasty.
Lately my views on veganism and farming are becoming broader. There is one thing I am certain of, but beyond that I am interested in reading about the possible sustainability of free-range, free-grazing livestock for food. The one thing I am certain of is that the situation today in industrial farms is atrocious and must end immediately. People have to stop buying from industries which hurt and harm animals. But I do not outright deny the possibility of growing livestock differently. I am not in favor of killing living beings, and I myself won't eat them, but I don't know if I have (or should have) a sufficient argument against the act itself of eating animals or of eating what they produce (if it does not harm them or their offspring). (Note from 28/3/15 after starting to read The World Peace Diet: I do believe that eating animals is a violent act that may be one of the causes of violence amongst ourselves [and the vegan revolution may be a revolution toward nonviolence in the world].)
There is so justification for cows living in tight cubicles and having machinery connected to their utters to suck their milk from them for the pleasure of humans. There is absolutely no justification to separate calves from their mothers right after birth. There is no justification for cutting the beaks of chickens. There is no justification for grinding baby chicks. There is no justification for all the numerous atrocities that take place behind walls that people prefer not to see. The crying of helpless animals, the helplessness and even craziness that they come to when they are completely chained, held and hurt, are all enough (and too much) to make me know for certain that this must end. Any human with compassion knows this. (Another note from 28/3/15: We must not be ruling over any other animal on earth other than ourselves. No justification for controling and hurting the lives of other fellow animals)
I tried to find for my mother cows in Israel that are grown free-grazing. There is no such thing. Letting cows live on grass will lower the income of the farmer (grass is scarce, especially in the summer months, which will make the cows walk farther to eat a sufficient amount of food = thinner and more muscular cows = less meat = less money), and no one does it here. When we see cows grazing up north, it is only for a short amount of time before they are sent to fattening facilities, and then treated the same as any other cow in an industrial farm.
My mother will not stop eating meat, and I am not completely against finding sustainable and humane ways to grow cows for meat, and she is willing to pay more to buy humanely raised meat, so I tried to find someplace. No success.
Humanely grown chickens for meat (and without hormones or other growth accelerators) are easier to find - http://www.lul-organi.co.il/. I think buying from humane farms and also reducing the amount of meat people eat (if they are not willing to completely stop), is an important step toward sustainable, ethical living.
Here is the facebook page of a movement for the humane raising of livestock- https://www.facebook.com/GrassFedIsrael